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Michael Fury – Affairs In Babylon

Michael Fury
Affairs In Babylon
by kenn staub at 19 June 2021, 6:46 AM

Perhaps the first thing you should know about MICHAEL FURY is that it’s the name of a band, not a member of the group. Think JETHRO TULL, AIDEN, FRANZ FERDINAND, MAX WEBSTER. Originally formed in 1979 by Myles Hunter, Martyn Jones, and Rob Kennedy, MICHAEL FURY broke up in 1983. The Canadian band reformed in 1984, adding Howard Helm and Dave Mihal, and released their only album, “Affairs in Babylon” (reissued on May 28, 2021 by AOR Heaven).

Maybe the next thing you should know is that “Affairs in Babylon” is not a heavy metal or hard rock album. Rather, think such 1980s pop-rock acts (and now AOR radio regulars) as BRYAN ADAMS, JACK WAGNER, RICK SPRINGFIELD, POWER STATION, STARSHIP, and DON JOHNSON, albeit somewhat heavier on the synthesizer. It’s only the prominence of the guitar in comparison to the synth-pop of that era kept me from labeling it as such.

The songs on “Affairs in Babylon” are all structured somewhat similarly; opening with a synthesizer before transitioning to a quality guitar line or solo and then concluding with another synthesizer part. Percussion is seemingly electronic and the bass used intermittently as an accent piece. The songs’ lyrics carry unambiguous meaning, rife with catchy choruses, and sung by a singer who knows his range and doesn’t exceed it with vocal histrionics.

Eponymous opener “Affairs in Babylon” clocks in at just under two minutes and has the feel of a torch song, the vocals anguished. Whereas piano featured most prominently on the first track, “Through The Thunder” started the run of songs structured as described above. The synthesizer and guitar take turns carrying the driving melodic line. For the first time on the album, Kennedy solos on guitar. Like all other guitar solos which follow, it fits the tone and temperament of the melody, demonstrating Kennedy’s abilities without him drifting into ostentation.

Pictures And Prints” feels more like synth-pop than the two preceding tracks. For one of the few times I distinctly heard Jones’s bass playing being used, along with Mihal’s drums, to provide accents within the melody. The group has good collective vocal harmony on the chorus. A synthesizer/guitar/bass riff, propelled by the drums, is a highlight of “There’s Gonna Be A Fire Tonight.” Again, the group’s vocal harmonies are on-point. Kennedy unleashes a slick 1980s pop-metal solo when given his turn.

These Are The Good Times,” the album’s first ballad, is typical of the time; a bit sparse instrumentally, big choruses, and a pained guitar solo. The track is followed by the well layered, almost light and airy “(Janie) Here We Go Again.” This number really got me thinking of BRYAN ADAMS and the pop-rock for which he was known. “Hot Words” had somewhat of a FOREIGNER4” vibe.

And We Go Down To The River” starts like a synth-pop dance number, but then takes on a more serious tonality. “White Wine And Roses” improved as it went along, transitioning from being sparkly, synthesizer driven to more of a traditional rocker. Kennedy is given greater space to solo here than on prior cuts. The ballad “Love Comes Down” closes out the album; replete with all the “songs for young lovers slow dancing” tropes one would expect.

Though “Affairs In Babylon” is not my cup of tea any more, that doesn’t make it a bad album. In fact, I rather liked it, enjoying the almost 40 minute trip down memory lane to my late adolescence/young adulthood it provided. In fact, I found myself almost involuntarily humming along or singing the choruses because so many of the tracks were that catchy.

On “Affairs In BabylonMICHAEL FURY provide a slice of the era in which this album was made; clean pop-rock that wasn’t overly complicated and was made to be enjoyed as opposed to overly analyzed.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

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3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Affairs In Babylon
2. Through The Thunder
3. Pictures And Prints
4. There’s Gonna Be A Fire Tonight
5. These Are The Good Times
6. (Janie) Here We Go Again
7. Hot Words
8. And We All Go Down To The River
9. White Wine And Roses
10. Love Comes Down
Lineup:
Myles Hunter – Lead Vocals
Rob Kennedy – Guitar, Vocals
Martyn Jones – Bass, Vocals
Dave Mihal – Drums
Greg Bociek – Keyboards
Howard Helm – Keyboards
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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Edited 28 July 2021
 

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